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Curtain call
[Image: 7T4G8712_FInal_657x491.jpg]

The beauty of the spartan Maruti 800 is that you can’t find anyone who hasn’t either owned one, or driven one at some point in their lives in India. A simple automobile that changed that an entire nation’s notion of what cars are supposed to be, and what they are supposed to do.

Step back 27 years and you’ll find that people thought starters were people who pushed your car until the engine woke up. A year later, Maruti Udyog’s first Indian product changed all that. But not immediately. A revolution in disguise, it wasn’t exactly given a warm welcome. In fact, it was scoffed at. It was called, variously, a ‘dabba’, hazard on wheels, an autorickshaw with an extra wheel and at times even a very expensive cremation ceremony. The reason for this particularly morbid hostility was that it did not match our definition of a car.

Back in the day the definition of a car was lots of metal, a cabin large enough to play football in and a big obsolete engine that refused to start on a winter morning. The cars that sported these… uh, features were the HM Ambassador, the Premier Padmini (aka Fiat) and due to their ‘financially demanding’ nature not everyone could think of buying them. Maruti’s future car picture was laughed out of the room and criticised more than a Deepa Mehta film because it was such a shocking contrast to our definition of cars. It was small, light and reliable. Our cerebral cortex simply couldn’t grasp that this, in fact, was the future.

The first generation 800 was inspired by the 1979 Suzuki Alto SS80, a popular hatchback in Europe and Japan. The sharp edged body shape and the ‘rear windscreen boot access’ were retained. But the 800 as the name suggests was fitted with a four-stroke 796cc, in-line three-cylinder carburetted engine compared to the 543cc one in the Japanese version. It was a simple car with a 4-speed manual gearbox making a humble 38PS of power but due to its light weight - 650kg - it could manage 120kmph, which is brisk, even by today’s standards. The big USP of the car was the fuel economy which stood at 20kmpl, in 1984. Plus it was mostly Japanese so it was definitely reliable, easy to buy, easier to maintain, wouldn’t drink fuel as if it was free and the list goes on and on and on.

A few sceptical buys, and exceptionally happy customers later we realised that almost anyone earning a decent salary could actually think about owning a car. After scoffing and criticising and wrinkling our noses we finally saw the picture Maruti had painted. And the sales of the car went one way, up, to such a point that the waiting period of this car touched almost three years. While the people with Ambys and the Fiats huffed and pushed their cars to life, the ones in the Maruti enjoyed the winter morning sitting snug in their perfectly working modern cars with a smile big enough to count their teeth by. And the reason for its head-turner status was the fact that it worked, no matter what the condition - no problem at all. This ‘choti si gaadi’ exposed us to the experience and the feel of a modern car and turned the whole Indian automobile industry on its head. And it changed our expectations form our cars.

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Good Article Mr.Bhat :up:

My Father still uses to Say only Maruti 800 created the revolution in Indian Automobile Industry,

At that point of time there was only Ambassador Which would cost More than a Lakh Rupees ...But Maruti which had more Dealers and Service centres just costed Rs.48,000!!

So then all High class and middle class people started to buy this car and it was a mega hit in Indian Market:up:
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Yes,At that time it was named as Sanjay car .bcoz it was started by Sanjay gandhi for the lower middle class people.still this car has the most popular even not according the new car sales but on road this rules.
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